NH DHHS Provides Update on Hepatitis C Testing Clinics

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Emergency Services Unit (ESU) today announced more than 900 people

were tested for hepatitis C at the public health clinics in Stratham on

Friday and Saturday, and another 100 patients at a public health clinic

today in Plaistow. The testing is in response to the hepatitis C outbreak

at Exeter Hospital. The group of patients currently being tested are among

3,300 patients the Division of Public Health Services recommended for

testing for possible exposure to hepatitis C. It includes anyone who was

treated in the Hospital’s Main Operating Rooms (excluding the outpatient

surgery center) or the Intensive Care Unit between April 1, 2011 and May

25, 2012. This is in addition to the patients treated in the Hospital’s

Cardiac Catheritization Lab (CCL) between October 1, 2010 and May 25, 2012

who have already been tested.

“This is a tremendous undertaking that involves many state, regional and

local public health partners,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas.

“One of our goals in holding these clinics was and continues to be to

provide a safe environment for patients to have their blood drawn quickly.

To have tested more than a 1000 people so far, in such a short-time frame

is a remarkable accomplishment. I would like to express my gratitude to

everyone who has helped in this process.”

Call center staff reached out to patients to schedule appointments for the

Stratham clinics, as well as the clinics today and tomorrow at Timberlane

Regional High School in Plaistow, Thursday at the Rochester Middle School

in Rochester, and Thursday through Saturday at the Manchester Health

Department. Patients can call 271-4496 to schedule an appointment for the

clinics in Manchester.

“This was the first time we have done something of this magnitude,” said

ESU Director Rick Cricenti. “We recognize that it was not perfect, in the

first day we learned many lessons that we implemented on Saturday, and

there were things we learned Saturday that we improved upon today in


DPHS is offering the rapid test to patients at the clinics, so patients who

elect to wait receive an initial result that day. All test samples from

the clinics are undergoing confirmation testing at the NH Public Health

Labs. “We will not be releasing results from the clinics to the public

until we have concluded our testing at our Lab,” said NH State

Epidemiologist Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis. “We know that there are some people

who will test positive with hepatitis C, but until we confirm that they are

linked to this outbreak we will not announce the results.”

Patients can also be tested at the following locations:

· Exeter Hospital, August 13-15, 7 AM-6 PM

You must schedule an appointment directly with Exeter Hospital by calling

(603) 580-6124 between 8:30 AM – 5 PM.

· Portsmouth Regional Hospital – Hampton, Monday-Thursdays, 8 AM-4 PM

· Portsmouth Regional Hospital – Pease Trade Port, Monday-Thursdays, 8


For the Hampton and Pease sites, no appointment is necessary, but you will

be asked to provide this letter and proper identification.

As always, patients have the option of going to their own healthcare

provider to have their blood drawn. The healthcare provider then needs to

coordinate with the Public Health Lab for the testing by calling (603)


Visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/hepatitisc/index.htm  or

www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm  for questions and information about this

investigation and hepatitis C., or call DPHS’ Bureau of Infectious Disease

Control at (603) 271-4496.